Operations and Activities    
  International Fund for Agricultural Development

Overview

In response to serious public concern in Belgium regarding the magnitude of drought-inflicted mortalities in Ethiopia and sub-Saharan Africa in the early 1980s, in October 1983 the Belgian Government created the Belgian Survival Fund for the Third World with an initial endowment of BEF 10 billion (equivalent to USD 280 million) for the purpose of combating hunger and deprivation in the region. Given the global nature of the BSF mandate, the Belgian Government requested four United Nations agencies to coordinate their efforts to ''ensure the survival of populations threatened by famine, malnutri-tion and under-development in those Third World areas having the greatest mortality rates from these causes''. The BSF.JP was established as the main channel for BSF development assistance and mobilized the services of WHO, UNICEF, UNDP and IFAD, which was nominated as the lead agency to launch and coordinate such assistance.

The first phase of the programme (1983-1995) was devoted to financing self-standing agricultural, health and water supply projects that largely complemented ongoing IFAD-financed agricultural and rural development projects in a number of key countries. During that phase, 19 grants approved for a total of BEF 2 680 million (approximately USD 72 million) served to establish BSF projects in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda.

The second phase, which was launched in 1996 and ran through 2000, has been characterized by its emphasis on two key aspects:

  • prevention of conflicts in post-war conditions and extending the BSF.JP target area beyond the Greater Horn of Africa to the Great Lakes Region, the Central Sahel countries and Angola; and
  • financing new and additional components within IFAD projects with a view to ensuring household food and nutrition security.

To date, fourteen grants have been approved under the second phase (two in Angola, two in Chad and one each in Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of The Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali and the United Republic of Tanzania) for a total of USD 47.5 million.

Thus, in the first and second phases, 33 projects have been approved for a total of USD 119.88 million. The current BSF.JP portfolio comprises 20 ongoing projects in the 13 target countries.

In view of the new Act for BSF approved at the Belgian Parliament in 1999 and confirmed by the King of Belgium in April 2000, a new strategy for BSF.JP was approved by the Government of Belgium at the end of 2000. this new strategy will cover the period 2001-2011. Already one project has been approved in the context of this new strategy, namely, the Mozambique Sofala Bank Artisanal Fisheries Project, for an amount of USD 3.39 million.

Report on IFAD Seminar on Rural Poverty Reduction "Harvesting IFAD-BSF Synergies"


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